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Dr Haneef: protests will grow against Howard government police state methods

"Immigration minister Andrews' revoking of Dr Haneef's visa and throwing him into Immigration Detention means the Federal Government is stooping lower even than their own draconian terror laws," Paul Benedek, a spokesperson for the Socialist Alliance and organiser of the protest in support of civil rights at yesterday's bail hearing for Dr Haneef, said today.

Benedek was announcing the next protest against Haneef's detention, to take place tomorrow, Wednesday July 18, outside the Sydney CBD office of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (26 Lee Street), at 12.30pm.

The next Brisbane demonstration will take place at 12 noon, Thursday, July 19, outside the Brisbane Watchhouse where Dr Haneef is being held (240 Roma St, Brisbane).

  • Watch media video of protest action in Brisbane
  • "Kevin Rudd's spineless decision to support the government in its police-state suspension of the presumption of innocence marks a new low for that party", he added.

    Pip Hinman, anti-war campaigner and Socialist Alliance candidate for Grayndler, called on supporters of democratic freedoms and civil liberties within the ALP to demand that Rudd reverse his position, which is "driven by a fear of being thought ‘soft on terrorism'".

    "All that is happening here is that where democratic freedoms and civil liberties are concerned Rudd is becoming Howard's alter ego", Hinman said. "Undermining what is left of Haneef's democratic rights by slamming him into immigration detention is a blatant attempt to silence him from revealing just how unjust these laws are."

    "They are further demonising an innocent man who spent almost two weeks in detention without charge, has been suspended from his work, had his home trashed, and had his reputation smeared beyond recognition." "This Prime Minister has said this case shows ‘that terrorism is a global threat'," Hinman added. "In reality, it is showing that unsubstantiated claims of ‘terrorism' can be used to trample basic rights, and that the State is willing to ignore its own courts to perpetuate its terrorism hysteria."

    "The ALP leadership has one response to this outrage — surrender."

    Paul Benedek added: "This case becomes more Monty Pythonesque by the hour. After suffering the longest detention without charge since World War II, and having more than 200 police go through his life, Haneef was charged with something he told police right from the start—that he gave his SIM card to his cousin—for which he faces up to 15 years jail for ‘supporting terrorism'! Upon gaining bail since the charge is so flimsy, the Government ignores the courts and throws Haneef into detention."

    "If this happened to an Australian citizen in any other country, there would rightly be howls of outrage. More frighteningly, this is happening in Australia 2007. Who or what is next under this new Lib-Lab Police State?" "The proceedings today show that not only should the ridiculous charges against Haneef be dropped—giving away a SIM card is not a crime—but also that the ‘anti-terror' laws which trample the rights of innocent people must be scrapped."

    Hinman concluded that the Socialist Alliance would be helping build further, larger protests against the treatment of Dr Haneef, and in support of endangered democratic rights in Australia.

    For interviews and further information: Pip Hinman 0412 139 968 or Paul Benedek 0410 629 088

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